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welcome back to "early start." in just a few hours, pope benedict xvi will fly off into retirement literally. he will be on a helicopter and assume the title pope emeritus. in his last words as pope, benedict xvi pledged his unconditional obedience to the future pope. >> coming up at 10:00 a.m., a cnn special anchored by erin burnett and chris cuomo in new york and kris ychristiane amanp
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rome. >> i want to say happy birthday to teddy and joseph, your 6-year-old twins. >> it's a big day back home. thanks for that. >> a big day in the berman household. that is it for "early start." >> "starting buoyapoint with so o'brian" starts right now. welcome, everybody. our starting point this morning, the pope's final day as head of the catholic church. in just about seven hours the office of the pope will be empty when benedict xvi is officially in retirement. this morning he blessed the cardinals who will pick his successor. >> translator: may he bless all of you in the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit. >> we're live in rome this morning with the historic moment and what it means for the church. we'll be talking with monsignor rick hilgartner of the u.s. conference of catholic bishops. senior simone campbell will join us and father edward beck is our
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guest. and time is running out. two proposals meant to avoid drastic spending cuts but they're both expected to fail, so can we avoid tomorrow's deadline or is it a lost cause. and did the white house threaten journalist bob woodward over his reporting on those spending cuts? >> it said very clearly you will regret doing this. >> the growing controversy on how the obama administration is responding this morning. >> it's thursday, february 28th. and "starting point" begins right now. welcome, everybody. our starting point this morning, the final hours of the sitting pope, the leader of the world's 1.2 billion catholics will officially retire in seven hours. right now we're awaiting a news conference from the vatican. the spokesman will hold that news conference and we'll bring that to you when it happens. earlier this morning pope
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benedict xvi met with more than 100 cardinals. they'll be the ones who will be choosing his replacement. he had a message for them. he'll share that in just a moment. here's how pope benedict xvi plans to spend the final hours of his papacy. at 10:45 a.m. eastern time he'll leave the vatican resident by helicopter and land a half an hour later at castel gandolfo, the papal summer residence. at 11:30 a.m., the pope is expected to appear at his balcony to say a final farewell to his followers. 2:00 p.m. this afternoon, pope benedict xvi will no longer be pope and st. peter's throne will be officially vacated. let's get right to cnn's chief international correspondent christiane amanpour who is live for us in rome this morning. we've given a rundown how the day will go. what can you add to that? >> reporter: well, you know, today was the day that the cardinals got to say goodbye to the pope and thank you. yesterday it was the pope in st. peter's square who was saying thank you and farewell. and cardinal angelo sodano, the
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dean of the college of cardinals, started out by making a speech. this is what he said and what the pope replied. >> translator: you addressed the people in st. peter's square. today we should thank you for the example which you have given us during the last eight years of your pontifficate. i will continue to serve you in prayer, in particular in the coming days, so that you may be touched by the holy spirit in the election of a new pope and hope that the lord will show you the right way. >> reporter: and of course what he also said was that amongst you, as he was talking to the cardinals, amongst you will be the next pope. and to him i will offer my continued devotion and obedience. it is, as we've been saying,
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such an unprecedented situation, literally centuries. none of us remember nor do our ancestors remember the last time a pope stepped down so we are headed into uncharted waters. and particularly this is what's going to be the focus of everybody's attention when we hear hopefully next week the date of the conclave for the election of the new pope. in the meantime, the pope, as you said, will leave here this afternoon, go to castel gandolfo. it will be his temporary retirement home. and he will also at 8:00 p.m. rome time his papacy ends and then sede vacante, the empty seat. >> christiane amanpour in rome, thanks, christiane. we're learning more about pope benedict xvi as he continued receiving resignations and nominating bishops even on his last day in office. he accepted the resignation of a monsignor as bishop in argentina. today he nominated samuel jeffre to replace him.
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he also nominated an auxiliary bishop in vietnam. apparently it was his final official act as pope. meantime with retirement comes a new title, pope emeritus. comes a new home as well. he will be staying at the picturesque castel gandolfo. a hilltop town 15 miles southeast of rome. the small fortress castle has been a retreat for popes for centuries. >> reporter: good morning. picturesque is an understatement. this is one of the most beautiful settings i've ever been in. castel gandolfo is behind me. that used to be a fortress back in the 16th century but the papacy wrestled it out of the hands of the family and it's now been the summer residence for popes getting out of the heat of the roman summer. it sits over a lake, which is quite the most picturesque, beautiful, quiet environment and perfect for benedict xvi, who
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will be called his holiness going forward, to start his new life of contemplation and reflection. let me just walk you through what will happen, soledad, in the hours to come. it's just after 1:00 here so in about four and a quarter hours, the pope will arrive here in his helicopter. at 5:30 the window just up there over my shoulder, he'll appear there. you say he's conducted his last sort of official business. his last business effectively will be to -- it's unofficial, i guess, is to address the 7,000 people who will be gathered here. most of them will have worked at the gandolfo castle at one stage or another. many of the people who live in this diocese work for the papacy. he'll address them, a brief salute and then he'll disappear again. but the door behind me, that's going to be the moment of drama at the end of what is this historic day. that will bang shut and the swiss guard, who are the papal
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bodyguards and have been for centuries will abandon the pope to his new life. soledad. >> becky anderson for us. it sounds very exciting. we're expecting it all to unfold over the next several hours today. thanks, becky. appreciate the update. let's get right to monsignor rick hilgartner. it's nice to have you back. i'm very antsy about how i say monsignor now since you made fun of me yesterday. >> i thought it sounded elegant. >> then i'll keep doing it. let's talk a little bit about the conclave process. we know what's going to happen as becky pointed out as the papacy comes to an end. what's next is what i want to focus on. we know it's done in great secrecy. all of the cardinals will come in. most of them will take part in the voting of it. walk me through exactly the process. >> well, beginning tonight at 8:00 p.m. central european time or 2:00 p.m. eastern, the leadership of the church is turned over to the college of cardinals as a group. and so the current secretary of
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state of the church will be the day-to-day person who operate the immediate kinds of things. there are no big policy decisions that get made, but there is the day-to-day operation, including planning for the conclave that will begin. it will be up to the dean of the college of cardinals, at this point cardinal sodano, who will convoke the convening of the cardinals. >> he'll pick the date? >> he'll summon them all and that's a symbolic gesture at this point because most of them are already there and they have had several weeks notice to prepare to come to rome. it's possible they'll gather tomorrow. there's been nothing said yet about whether all the cardinals will gather. >> and the gathering would be the conclave? >> what's called the general congregations will begin the in next few days. so tomorrow there is likely an announcement about when the general congregations will begin. there are some procedural things that will happen. they will choose three cardinals from among the whole body who will work with the dean to
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oversee the day-to-day operations. >> lowisical how the office will be run. when do they go into the conclave? >> the general congregations will begin in a few days. in those days they'll talk about the state of the church in the various parts of the world and each of the cardinals will have the opportunity to input into that. that will include the cardinals not eligible to vote because they're past the age. even the over 80 cardinals can participate. the first thing they'll do is set the date for the conclave to begin. it hasn't been determined how many days they'll meet. eventually when they set the date for the conclave, they will begin that day with a mass and then the solemn procession into the sistine chapel when literally the conclave with keys means they will lock the doors and the master of ceremonies will announce that all the outsiders get out and all those who are not eligible to be in
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the conclave will leave the room. the doors will literally be closed and locked. >> and they will then make a decision. we're going to keep you around as we did yesterday all morning. but there's so much -- you describe a process but there's also a political process, the jockeying for the position that i really want to get into as we continue through our morning. we'll get back to that in a little bit. cardinal roger mahony, a retired archbishop of los angeles, this just comes into cnn, he tweeted, of course he tweeted, about the final event with the pope. christiane was just discussing that a moment ago. he tweeted when i greeted the pope i asked for his prayers for all the people in the greater los angeles area. he grasped my hand and said "yes." cardinal mahony getting something f? for his people at the last moment. at the bottom of the hour this morning, i'm going to be talking to senior simone campbell, the executive director of network, a member of the sisters of social
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service. we'll talk about the future of the catholic church with her. she's been a guest on this show a couple of times. at 10:00 eastern there's a cnn special this morning, the pope's last day anchored by erin burnett and chris cuomo. christiane amanpour joins them from rome. an interview with cardinal timothy dolan also from rome. first, let's get to other news. new details about the $60 million in additional aid the united states is giving the syrian opposition. secretary of state john kerry met with syrian opposition leaders today and announced this in rome. the u.s. will seek the additional money during the coming months. it will enable the opposition group to help local councils in communities and providing food, shelter, sanitation. the obama administration is considering providing more nonlethal military equipment as well. automatic spending cuts kick in tomorrow. senate democrats and republicans will vote on separate proposals today to head off those cuts but there is really no indication at
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all that anything will be done in time to beat tomorrow's deadline. president obama says the cuts will damage the economy, but the alarm really from him toned down a bit. he told business leaders it's not a fiscal cliff, just a tumble downward. meantime "washington post" reporter bob woodward claims he was threatened by the white house over an op-ed he wrote on the origin of the forced cuts. here's what he told cnn's wolf blitzer. >> it said very clearly you will regret doing this. >> who sent that e-mail to you? >> well, i'm not going to say. >> was it a senior person at the white house? >> a very senior person. and just as a -- i mean it makes me very uncomfortable to have the white house telling reporters you're going to regret doing something that you believe in. >> after what he went through in watergate, no surprise that bob woodward is sensitive towards the white house. the white house did respond to that. they said there was no threat intended. just ahead we're going to talk about the forced spending
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cuts with congressman buck mckeon, a republican from california. other news, the supreme court hearing a challenge to the voting rights act of 1965 and a key provision of the measure does seem to be in jeopardy. if it is overturned, nine states, mostly in the south, would become free to change their voting procedures without permission from the federal government. civil rights activists fear that would mean tighter identification standards and more flexibility to move polling places and redraw legislative districts, a move they say would hurt minority voting. there was some heart-breaking testimony from a very emotional father whose son was one of the 20 first graders gunned down in the sandy hook elementary school. neil hezlin brought his plea to a washington hearing held by senator dianne feinstein wednesday. he said he was there to speak for his son. >> he was the love of my life. he was the only family i have left. it's hard for me to be here
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today to talk about my deceased son. i have to. i'm his voice. >> heslin told our anderson cooper why it was so important for him to speak out in favor of an assault weapons ban. >> i feel i have to do it for jesse. if i didn't speak up and try to make a change, i would feel that i was letting my son down. >> despite wednesday's emotional hearing, a new assault weapons ban really has little chance of passing. there is fierce opposition from the nra as well as republicans and some democrats as well. a powerful week-long storm that cancelled flights, stranded motorists and left at least seven dead, six of them in kansas, now has its sights set on new england. there are 10 inches of snow predicted for parts of maine today. a winter advisory is in effect for parts of that state and portions of new hampshire as well. new england just keeps getting hit. good news for ski areas.
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bad news for human who say don't ski. >> spring is around the corner. still ahead this morning, the dow has its best day of the year, hits a five-year high. will we see another surge today? ali velshi will talk about that straight ahead. with aachine. what? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it? hello? hello?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7, you need an ally. hello? ally bank. your money needs an ally. ♪
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i've got something for you too. (announcer) fancy feast delights with cheddar. a meal that is sure to delight your cheese lover. fancy feast. the best ingredient is love. . welcome back. the clock is winding down thn morning. forced spending cuts will take effect tomorrow. overnight a striking change of tone has left many people wondering what exactly has changed. the president spoke last night
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at a business council dinner. he said the forced cuts are serious but not that serious. here's what he said. >> it's not a cliff. but it is a tumble downward. a lot of people may not notice the full impact of the sequester. but this is going to be a big hit on the economy. >> his own attorney general was saying hours earlier. >> there are not going to be as many fbi agents, dea agents, prosecutors who are able to do their jobs. they're going to be furloughed. this is something that is going to have an impact on the safety of this country. anybody who says that that's not true is either lying or saying something that runs contrary to the facts. >> congresswoman buck mckeon is a republican from california, also the chairman of the armed services committee. nice to have you, sir. thank you for talking with us. >> thank you for having me. >> you can see that the tone has obviously changed. as everybody sits around to figure out why is the tone
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changing, some have posited that there's a back room deal happening and that's what's changed the tone from being doom and gloom and we're falling off a cliff to being more of it's a slow slide down a little path, i guess. what do you think is behind it? >> you know, the president has taken so many positions on this issue from the fact that he originally proposed the idea to where if we tried to fix it he would veto it to now it became the biggest disaster to ever hit the world to now it's not such a big deal. somewhere in between there is the truth. and the truth is that our defense has been cut greatly. before we ever got to sequester, secretary gates cut $100 billion out of defense. and then the joint chiefs were assigned to find over $400 billion in cuts. that evolved to $487 billion in cuts that kicks in this year. that's $50 billion taken out of defense over the next ten years.
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and then the sequestration on top of that adds another $50 billion. so we're looking at cutting over a trillion dollars. >> you've just laid out that that's bad. when i talked to ray davis, secretary of the navy, he said essentially the same thing to me. here's what's going to happen and it's serious. >> those are the facts. >> let me play that first and we'll talk about it on the other side. >> sure. >> we're going to have to take down four of nine carrier air wings and it will take us a year to get them back and cost two or three times as much. if we lurch from this budget crisis to the next artificial budget crisis, that's the continuing resolution at the end of march, we'll start cutting some significant number of workers here. >> so he reflects what you say. and then when you talk to mayor michael bloomberg, the mayor here in the city of new york, he's sort of like, eh.
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listen to that. >> there's a lot of posturing, i'm going to lay off my employees today unless you do something. we're going to close the hospitals down. we're going to take all the prisoners from jail and put them on the streets. spare me, i live in that world. come on, let's get serious here. >> so which is it? serious? >> i'm focused on the defense side. we passed the budget control act, and that put into place cuts of about a trillion dollars, half of which came out of defense. and then it set in place the sequestration which set up a super committee that was supposed to go after the runaway spending that are mandatory that we have no control over, and they were supposed to find an additional trillion dollars of cuts that we could take out of that. when that failed, then the automatic cuts put in place by sequestration were supposed to kick in january 1st and then
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that got moved back to march 1st. and what really has happened is when sequestration was passed and when the super committee failed, the military started to put into place things that held things in place. people are just kind of frozen in place. jobs are not being created. people are not being hired. people were being let go. so that the fiscal cliff actually, as the president said, it's not a sharp dropoff because it's been happening now for several months in preparation for january 1st and now march 1st. >> the time is certainly running out for you, for all of our elected officials who are investing a lot of hope to meet this before we do go over that cliff or slide or however you want to characterize it. congressman buck mckeon, thank you for talking with us this morning, sir. we appreciate your time. >> thanks for having me. coming up this morning, the dow opens at a new five-year
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high this morning. but is it too soon to celebrate? ali velshi will join us to talk about what those numbers really mean. and that's coming up next.
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joining us this morning, we plr introduced monsignor rick hilgartner, matt miller, a former senior adviser, ryan lizza is back, washington correspondent for the new yorker. i accidentally thought someone was you yesterday in a restaurant and embarrassed myself. i ran my fingers through his hair and said hey, ryan, but it wasn't ryan. but let's not talk about that. let's talk about the dow opening at a new five-year high after a really big rally late in the session yesterday.
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closed at 14,075. it was up 170 points on wednesday and that's just 89 points away from it's record-closing high which was reached in october of 2007. the nasdaq and the s&p 500 also rallied. let's get right to ali velshi who's in washington, d.c. this morning. just a few days ago stocks sold off. we were talking about wall street's terrible day. now we're back to talking about a record. >> forget the record, it doesn't matter. it looks like stocks are going to start a little bit higher because ben bernanke says things are going to be okay. but the record doesn't matter. the only thing that needs to matter to anybody involved in the stock market whether it's a 401(k) or ira or you're a trader is whether the stocks you're going to buy are going up from here or down from here. some people say there's a bubble. some say when we hit that record there will be automatic selling. that creates a great deal of volatility in the market. there are two things going on right now, soledad. we have an ongoing generalized improvement in the market.
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more and more employment every month. we've got natural gas and oil sparking a bit of a boom. low interest rates, people are buying houses. they're generally feeling good about things. on the other side you've got a government that is just so ready to trip this economy up every single chance it gets. and investors are confused, which means the index that most people should be concerned about, the volatility index, is all over the map. it's really high right now. so that's why you end up having days like you did the other day. something goes wrong in italy, our stocks tank. something goes well today, it will be gdp at 8:30 this morning showing things are not as bad as we thought they were at the end of 2012. stocks will go up. that's the kind of world we're in right now. if you're a trader, you've got to be really, really careful about this market. don't worry about bubbles. i don't think whatever happens this weekend is going to change the stock market all that much, but watch out for the end of march. that's what we've got to worry about, when that budget debate comes up. >> and the idea that our own government is tripping up our
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own economy is really concerning to me. all right, ali velshi, nice to have you. >> my pleasure. pope benedict xvi's reign as head of the catholic church has been marred with controversy. will the next pope be able to bring change, make the church more modern? what about the question of women in the church? we'll examine that straight ahead. were you here for the hockey coach that trips a 13-year-old player and they catch it on the video? yeah, well, a judge has finally weighed in, handed down the punishment and it is far worse than just throwing him into the penalty box. we'll explain what happens. see that? nice, nice. that's ahead. [ female announcer ] when a woman wears a pad
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welcome back, everybody. it's the pope's final day as the leader of the catholic church. this morning he greeted more than 100 cardinals who are now tasked with choosing his replacement. benedict xvi had one last message for those cardinals before he began his retirement.
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>> translator: personally, i would like to say that i will continue to serve you in prayer, in particular in the coming days, so that you may be touched by the holy spirit in the election of a new pope and i hope that the lord will show you the right way. >> they're cardinals but that does not mean that they don't have big twitter followings. a few of the cardinals have been tweeting about what they did with the pope this morning and the coming conclave. cardinal ravasi tweeting that he'd be away for a few days since the cardinals are forbidden to communicate while the conclave is under way. thanks to my followers for our road together. i will be away for a few days in friendship. >> it's like the best out of office reply. sorry, electing the new pope.
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be back next week. >> which might be me. see you next week. so here's a step-by-step look at what will happen today. pope benedict xvi's final day. 10:45 eastern he'll depart the courtyard for the heliport. 11:00 his chopper will take off. 15 minutes later we're told he'll land in castel gandolfo, his temporary retirement home. it's the summer retreat for popes for nearly 400 years. he'll crete the crowd at 11:30 eastern time. at 2:00 eastern, 8:00 local time the pope will officially begin his retirement. a lot could change for the church. we want to get right to sister simone campbell, executive director of network and a member of the sisters of social service. it's so nice to have you with us and great to see you again. what would you say in your mind is the pope's legacy, pope benedict xvi's legacy in a nutshell? >> i think there's two factors. one is his amazing teaching with regards to the economic challenges of our globalized
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world and really challenging the first world to be mindful of justice for everyone, that everyone needs to have meaningful work that pays a living wage and where everyone has a right to food, shelter, clothing and health care. i think his stand on that has been significant and historic. and the other piece he'll always be noted for is the fact that he acknowledged his limitations in aging and has resigned. i think it was a very courageous act on his part and i think that boldness hopefully will help open up some new opportunities in the church. those are two of the things that i see as really historic. >> what do you think is the likelihood that the new pope will do what you and i have talked about in the past. you've pushed hard for a changing role for women within the catholic church. how likely is that? >> well, i think actually it's probably slim to none, but i think what's going to happen is that as we embrace reality of our modern world, women are
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moving more into roles of leadership and, quite frankly, the church needs us there more than they ever have. and so i think maybe it's going to happen just by doing. often law follows practice, not leads practice. and in this instance, i think the practice is far ahead of the law and maybe we can tug the law along a little bit. >> there's a woman named teresa puente and she was quoted in news day and she said what catholics need most is a leader that will welcome everyone into the church and who will look at ways to examine whether the church doctrine makes sense in today's modern world. birth control, gay marriage, women priests are just some of the issues some catholics like myself, she writes, would like the church to re-examine. and she said this the other day to news day. i remember i had this conversation with my mom a number of times about the role of the catholic church, named after the virgin mary, my parents are very devout catholics. she's like the church doesn't change. the point of the church is not
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to catch up to modern times. the point of the church is to bring everybody along with them. it sounds like you could lose a lot of catholics in that very tension, sister. >> well, i do think that's been a tension in our church since vatican 2. but what we know is that the church has changed dramatically over time. it's just that our lifetimes are shorter so we haven't seen as much of the change. but with the vatican 2, our big renewal program was really returning to our roots of faith, which is to embody the gospel in the modern world. and what happened as a reaction, the pendulum swung back and people were pretty afraid of some of our leaders were afraid of the modern world and i think the biggest gift would be if the new pope has an enjoyment of the modern world, enjoys the challenge of pluralistic society and understands the great opportunity to live the gospel with people who are struggling. it would be a great opportunity that could be exercised i think in a way that brings us all together. we keep saying at network, we're
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for the 100%. well, jesus definitely was for the 100% and so is the church. >> sister campbell, nice to have you with us, thank you for being with us. >> thank you so much. >> you bet. she does not seem very optimistic, monsignor, as much as she points out she'd really, really like that. do you agree with her, that the new pope embracing major change or minor change? >> i think one of the questions is we tend to look at this with our american perspective and our american mindset and that's our perspective. and it's legitimate and it's right. but there are issues that are facing the church in other parts of the world that might not resonate with what we in the united states think. the role of women is one of those questions. and it's certainly a significant factor. currently in the catholic church in the united states, nearly 50% of administrative positions at the local, national and diocese level are held by women like sister simone. so the place of women in the catholic church in the united states is significant. those numbers might not resonate
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in the same way in other parts of the world. >> it will be interesting to see what happens. coming up at 10:00 a.m. eastern, there's going to be a special coverage of the pope's last day. chris cuomo and erin burnett will be here in new york and christiane amanpour will join them live from rome with an interview with cardinal timothy dolan. that's our special reporting that begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern on the pope's last day. the other developing story we're covering this morning, those massive across-the-board spending cuts are set to kick in tomorrow. president obama has summoned top congressional leaders to the white house tomorrow morning but at this point it looks like nothing will prevent the fiscal hammer from coming down. cnn's brianna keilar reports the cuts have the white house at odds with prominent journalist bob woodward. >> reporter: after a week of touting the dire consequences around the forced spending cuts, president obama softened his tone wednesday night in a speech to top business executives. >> this is not a cliff, but it is a tumble downward.
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it's conceivable that in the first week, the first two weeks, the first three weeks, first month a lot of people may not notice the full impact of the sequester. but this is going to be a big hit on the economy. >> reporter: republicans have said these predictions are nothing but scare tactics. >> it's time they got off the campaign trail and started working with us to govern for a change. >> reporter: the president reiterated the charge of partisanship ahead of an 11th hour meeting on friday with congressional leaders. >> the issue is political. and the question is whether or not we are going to see a willingness on the part of all parties to compromise in a meaningful way. >> reporter: all the while, the obama white house is engaged in a war of words with legendary "washington post" reporter bob woodward over the origin of the forced spending cuts. in a controversial op-ed last
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week, woodward wrote "the final deal reached between vice president biden and senate minority leader mitch mcconnell in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester." woodward criticized the president's handling of negotiations writing "so when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts." on cnn's "situation room" wednesday, woodward claimed he received a veiled threat in an e-mail from a senior white house aide. >> it was said very clearly you will regret doing this. >> who sent that e-mail to you? >> well, i'm not going to say. >> was it a senior person at the white house? >> a very senior person. and just as a -- i mean it makes me very uncomfortable to have the white house telling reporters you're going to regret doing something that you believe in. >> reporter: a white house official says woodward misinterpreted that e-mail and
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that he responded to it in a friendly manner. that official saying, quote, of course no threat was intended, as mr. woodward noted, the e-mail from the aide was sent to apologize for voices being raised in their previous conversation. the note suggested that mr. woodward would regret the observation he made regarding the sequester because that observation was inaccurate, nothing more. soledad. >> when you look at the specifics of that e-mail, he doesn't just say you'll regret doing this, which is what bob woodward is claiming. he says i think you will regret staking out that claim, which takes a little bit of the teeth out of what's being implied as a veiled threat. brianna keilar, thanks, appreciate the update. >> look, as a fellow journalist, i worship bob woodward and what he does, but on this very narrow debate on whether he was threatened in any way -- >> words he never used. he didn't say threatened. he has implied a veiled threat. >> i think the actual language is a lot less dramatic. i mean every journalist working
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in washington can show you e-mails, the two of you i know have the same thing that i do. after every piece. and you develop a tough skin about these things. all of us have received far worse than you will regret staking out that claim. i think what he was being told is you're wrong about this and you're going to be embarrassed by saying it, which is standard operating procedure from the white house, to give you pause and make you feel a little uncomfortable about saying something they disagree with. >> but woodward is pretty -- he's a damn good reporter so the idea that he would get his back up because someone is saying that you're reporting on what the real origins were, were wrong, he decided to make that a story. >> he's in this fight, he's definitely part of this story, has been for the last week. >> i always like to take the side of a journalist in a spat with the white house or any official so my sympathies are with woodward. i do think there's something to be said for pushing back against this culture of all of us constantly getting attacked and
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yelled at and, you know -- >> it's part of the gig, though, right? >> it's part of the gig but there is something -- what he did exposing it is good and i think it's good the public knows -- >> but you do need to see the real verbatim of the e-mail and the tone as opposed to pulling a line. not only for a journalist but for anybody. let's see the whole thing. also this morning, the white house says that they have nothing to do with the release of hundreds of immigrant detainees across the country. that came to light this week. a spokesman said the decision was made by career officials at immigrations and customs enforcement without input from the white house. immigration officials had linked the mass releases to the looming budget cuts. john berman has a look at other stories making news for us. coming soon to a dollar bill near you, this scribbled signature. if you can really even call it a signature. it's i guess what you would call it the mark that jack lew leaves on official documents. the full senate confirmed lew as treasury secretary. one of his first tasks may be to
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change that signature. you remember the president made fun about it when he nominated him. now the white house is waiting for john brennan to be confirmed as the next cia director. there's a delay. the senate intelligence committee just postponed a vote on his nomination. it was scheduled for today. it will now take place next tuesday, we're told. a terrifying night for a motel clerk in florida and her son. an armed robber smashes through a locked glass door, charges the counter, points a gun at the woman's head and forces her to give him money. her young son saw the whole thing. no one was hurt. police are hoping to identify the gunman even though his face was covered. we just learned a peewee hockey coach in canada is going to jail for 15 days for really one of the most unsportsmanlike acts you will ever see. that was it. 48-year-old martin trembley was caught tripping a 13-year-old opposing player during a postgame handshake. this happened back in july. the video went viral online. he pleaded guilty to assault. the judge likened the tripping
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to a cowardly sucker punch on an unsuspecting victim. 15 days for that guy. >> i've never known a canadian to do something so inappropriate. >> on a hockey game. >> that is terrible. 15 days, that sounds fair. all right, coming up we're going to talk to the parents of a 6-year-old girl whose having this legal battle over the right to use the restroom. they say it's all about a fight for equality because their 6-year-old was born a boy. that's ahead.
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welcome back, everybody. a splendid shooting performance set by the nba records ablaze last night for the mecca for
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basketball. john berman is wishing he's doing this story because he really is the guy who's all about that. tell me about it. >> well, soledad and john, if you had to pick one night to stay up late and watch the nba, last night was it. nobody has had a better game than we saw last night in new york so far this season. i know it's early in the morning, but do you have a taste for some hot curry? steph curry, that is. the all star snub posted the nba's highest scoring total this season, pouring in 54 points, including 11 three-pointers. that's tied for the second most threes in a game in nba history. curry scored the third-most points ever by an opponent at the world's most famous arena. here's the real stunner, it wasn't enough. curry's warriors got upended by carmelo anthony and the new york knicks. wild finish in houston. game tied, final seconds. mon tta ellis gets the feed.
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maybe this one was heard all the way at the vatican. ellis off balance and getting the friendly roll on the road. milwaukee beats houston at the buzzer. no one saw this coming, penn state hadn't won a big ten conference game in more than a year. wednesday the nittany lions not only earned their first "w" they did it against the fourth-ranked team in the country. michigan stunned by penn state. and just think, march and it's madness doesn't arrive until tomorrow. bracket season is nearly here and it will be as unpredictable as ever. nobody likes 2-week-old sausage unless that particular sausage is part of a famous in-game race during milwaukee brewer games. that's guido, the italian sausage. he's wearing jersey number 3. he went missing a couple weeks back during a beer tasting event and was seen in pictures bar
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hopping around town. the seven-foot $3,000 sausage was dropped off last night at a local bar, of course anonymously. right now on bleacher report, the staff reminds us that it is always football season, so log on and check out the post-combine mock nfl draft. find out who your team is targeting right now on it's kind of like flat stanley, soledad. >> there's so many questions about that sausage story. first of all, $3,000 for that costume? secondly, how was it lost? thirdly, anonymous guy drops it off at a bar? wow. >> listen, they love their sausage in milwaukee. >> and that's your answer for me. thanks, jared, appreciate it. still ahead this morning, we're going to talk to a 6-year-old girl and her parents who are now fighting with their school district and their school because they won't let her use the girls room. school district because they won't let her use the restroom. this little girl was born a boy. .
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a battle is now brewing between the parents of a 6-year-old transgender girl and a colorado school district that says she can no longer use the girls bathroom at her elementary school for fear of upsetting parents of other kids. coy mathis was born a boy but at 18 months old her parents say they knew that she identified as female and in december of 2011 coy officially began presenting herself as a girl and they say there was no problem at all at school. but this past december they received a call from the school district saying coy could no longer use the girls restroom only the boys bathroom or the gender neutral restroom which is in the nurse's office. an official complaint has been
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filed and 6-year-old coy's been removed from school and is being homeschooled while they try to resolve the issue. coy and her parents kathryn and jeremy mathis are with us this morning. hi there, thanks for talking with us. hi there, coy, good morning. why don't you walk me through when this became a problem, it sounds like it became an issue, the bathroom issue came up in first grade. what exactly happened? >> i got a phone call from the principal one evening and he wanted to set up a meeting to discuss future options for coy's use of the restroom. in preparation of that meeting we asked questions about the policies. we were told that there were no written policies and that the options would be for coy to use the boys restroom or the staff bathroom or the nurse's bathroom for the sick children which were both on the opposite end of the building which would set coy up for stigmatize her being the only one having to go to a different bathroom, so we weren't okay with that, so we contacted transgender legal defense and education fund, and
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our attorney michael silverman tried to reach out to the school district to work something out. but they were set in their decision so we decided it was safest for coy that we home school her for the time being until all this is resolved. >> so, kathryn, did they tell you that specific people had been complaining? was there some sort of big issue that precipitated this conversation with the principal and ultimately the school district? >> we actually have no idea what caused them to go from being so accepting to her to completely change and start discriminating against her. we never had any issues with other classmates or any parents at all. >> so, the district attorney has sort of laid out their position and this is what w. kelly dude who's the colorado district attorney has said -- i'm certain you can appreciate that as coy grows older and his male genitals develop along with the rest of his body at least some parents and students are likely to become uncomfortable
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with his continued use of the girls' restroom. so, that seems to be the position they're taking. what do you make of that? >> well, i mean, the immediate problem with that is we're not in middle school yet. we're not in high school yet and they're punishing a 6-year-old for something that hasn't happened and may not happen. her body development is none of their business. that is up to her and her doctors in the future. that's not something that we're at right now. and right now we need to be protecting a 6-year-old, not a middle scholar or a high schooler. >> jeremy, you guys have pointed to the colorado anti-discrimination act as feeling fairly confident that your daughter is being discriminated against under the very provisions of this act. i'll read a little bit so people can understand part of it. it says this -- places of public accommodation may not deny any person participation, entry, or services based on the person's sexual orientation including transgender status. do you feel secure that that provision right there is going
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to be enough to let you win, if you will, legally? because i think the school district would say here's what we've done. we've given you another option. this does not say that a transgender child gets to use the bathroom of the gender that they identify with. there's actually nothing about, you know, specific restrooms in this. >> absolutely. i believe that the wording of the law is very solid, and i believe that they're in direct violation of it. they are, in fact, discriminating which the law itself is called the anti-discrimination act. and i know that they state that they have been accommodating, but what they are doing is discriminating, forcing her to use a separate bathroom from all the rest of the kids or forcing a little girl to go in the boys' room and that's not okay. >> so, coy is being schooled at home now. and, coy, i don't know, are you feeling up today to chat? i know you're sick, i've got a lot of kids, i was going to ask her how she was doing in the home schooling and if she misses
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her kids back at school. she's yawning, i'm boring her with my questions. >> can you look at the camera, they are asking if you miss your kids at school. she loves her teacher and misses her dearly. >> thank you. listen, i've had a lot of 6-year-olds, so sometimes they don't think chatters. thank you for your time. we wish you the best of luck in resolving this with your school and hopefully she can get back to her friends. it's a really interesting, interesting case. thank you for talking with us this morning, we appreciate it jeremy and kathy mathis and 6-year-old coy with us this morning. ahead on "starting point." continued coverage of the pope's final day. so, who has the best chance of being the next pope? we'll put that question to the monsignor on our panel this morning and we'll talk with christiane amanpour about it. and less than a day until the spending cuts kick in, is there a deal going on behind closed doors? we'll talk about it ahead. with the spark cash card
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welcome, everybody, our "starting point" this morning the pope's final moments as the head of the catholic church in just about six hours b s benedi xvi will be in retirement and the cardinals will pick his successor. >> translator: it has been a joy to walk and work with you these years in the presence of god. >> we're live in rome this morning looking at what this historic moment means for the catholic church. the senate takes up two proposals meant to avoid the drastic spending cuts, they're both, though, expected to fail. are we doomed to miss the
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deadline? about the white house threaten journalist bob woodward over his reporting on those spending cuts? >> it was said very clearly, you will regret doing this. >> the growing controversy and the white house response this morning. plus, she won america's hearts at the olympics and she became an internet sensation even though she was not impressed. olympic gymnast michaela maroney is here live. it's thursday, february 28th, and "starting point" begins right now. welcome, everybody, our "starting point" this morning is pope benedict xvi's final hours on the throne of st. peter. 2:00 p.m. eastern this afternoon the spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion catholics will officially step down and begin his retirement. earlier this morning the pope met with 144 cardinals who will choose his successor, and he left them with this parting message --
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>> translator: personally i would like to say that i will continue to serve you in prayer, in particular in the coming days so that you may be touched by the holy spirit in the election of a new pope, and hope that the lord will show you the right way. >> in the last hour we heard from vatican spokesman father frederico lombardi describing how the pope will be part of the selection process for his successor. >> translator: so he went be present in the sistine chapel where the cardinals will pay tribute to the new pope for election, but as of now he is participating in this act of homage and obedience. the new pontiff, it's very beautiful, very original. >> so, here's how benedict xvi will spend the final hours of
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his day, 10:45 eastern he'll leave the residence at helicopter and land at castell gan gol fgandolfo, and then at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon pope benedict xvi will no longer be pope. let's get to cnn's chief international correspondent christiane amanpour live in rome and she's got senior vatican analyst and correspondent for the national catholic reporter john allen with her. good morning to both of you. >> reporter: good morning to you, soledad. and just to be very clear, pope benedict xvi will have nothing to do with the selection and election of the next pope. he obviously will be closet away up in castel gandolfo and just in terms of what happens logistically next, once the papacy ends at 8:00 p.m. local time, his papal apartments here at the vatican will be sealed as they always are when one pope leaves and before the next is
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ele elected, not just his apartments will be sealed with the traditional yellow vatican seal which we'll talk about the empty seat but also the elevator going up to that apartment will be sealed. again, john and i were watching for over an hour as the pope met with the cardinals face to face, a little bit of face time for the cardinals to come and say thank you and farewell each and every one of them privately and personally to him. before that the dean of the college of cardinals, cardinal angelo sardano did make a statement and the pope also responded. >> translator: you addressed the people in the square today we should thank you for the example which you have given us during the last eight years of your
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pontificate, i will serve you in prayer in the coming days so that you may be touched by the holy spirit. in the election of a new pope and hope that the lord will show you the right way. >> reporter: and so after that, each and every one of those cardinals came up and kissed his ring, some of them knelt, some of them had words in his ears. there was a white tuxedoed gentleman there who was really moving the process along and when it looked like one cardinal was spending a little over the allotted time, he would get moved on. john, of course, we were all looking at the cardinals, looking to see which one of those might be the front-runner. everybody's waiting to see who will be the next pope. is anybody really got any front-runner status, but must say also that everybody's waiting and watching to see whether the controversial cardinal mahoney of los angeles would be there and, of course, he was. he knelt in front of the pope. and then afterwards he tweeted. >> yes, that's exactly right.
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so, now two tweets actually describing his encounter with benedict xvi. but, of course, so i think what we need to take stock of here is that in some ways what you saw this morning was benedict xvi potentially greeting a man who was going to take over the catholic church after he's gone. in fact, of course, as you know, at one point the pope actually said perhaps in this room this morning is the next pope and i want to right now in advance pledge my unconditional obedience to that man. so, obviously you know we have one eye on benedict the outgoing pope this morning and how this emotional farewell could play with him, but we, of course, had the other eye on the cast of characters and the field of candidates. >> reporter: and before we go back to soledad, just give us an idea of who might be a front-runner, if such a thing exists. >> well, i think the big difference between this conclave and the conclave of 2005 is there is no clear front-runner in the same way that cardinal joseph ratzinger was the last time around.
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but there are perhaps two or three figures one could say are the next tier down. cardinal angelo shokoal, cardin mark willet, who runs the power for bishops, a deeply spiritual figure and perhaps leonardo sandri, a career vatican official a man that brings the first world and the third world together. we shall see if one of those guys breaks through. >> reporter: indeed and, of course, there may even be a cardinal from the third world, the developing world, who might be elevated. we're going to interview the american cardinal timothy dolan in a few hours from now. we'll have that live on cnn and he's used an awful lot of colorful language to insist he's not the next pope. but his name is constantly cropping up as well. soledad? >> we're already taking bets on who the next successor will be, i'm not surprised about that,
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guys, thank you. pope benedict xvi will be staying at the picturesque castel gandolfo, southeast of rome. it's a small castle thtle and b anderson is there for us now. >> reporter: hi, soledad, the final preparations are under way for what will be the arrival of a very, very honored guest. the people here feel very fondly towards the pope as you say for 400 years nearly this has been the summer residence of the papacy as the popes over the years got out of the heat of that roman summer. there is a glorious lake just to my left-hand side, and the sort of place where somebody who needed some time for peace and contemplation might come. and that is what we are looking at for benedict xvi his holiness going forward looking for that for him in the future because,
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of course, when he arrives here at 5:15 local time by helicopter, he will be in retirement. his last act, soledad, will be to stand at the window above me over here at the castle and he will effectively address. they're calling it, he will salute the crowd here. there will be about 7,000 people here, so he may or may not say anything at that stage, but then you'll see the doors behind me in a couple hours bang shut. that will be the end of the swiss guard here, the papal bodyguards as it's known abandon benedict xvi, from then on in, the rest of his life, of course, which he says will be spent in isolation. soledad? >> becky anderson for us, thank you, becky, for walking us through what will happen later this afternoon. we also know there will be no internet access at casa marta, the vatican has declined to say whether blackberries and
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iphones and blacktops will be taken away from them, shut off the international access. benedict xvi will not get advanced notice of who his successor will be if he apparently will find out when the rest of the world does. want to get to our team this morning, monsignor rick hillgartner is with us, matt miller is with us, a "washington post" columnist, former senior adviser in the clinton white house budget office, ryan lizza is a cnn contributor, washington correspondent for "the new yorker" and father edward beck is here with us to talk about who might be next. as much as i was poking fun at christiane and john allen, we'll talk about who realistically might be the next pope. we'll talk about it straight ahead. special coverage of the pope's final day will start at 10:00 a.m. eastern on cnn, chris cuomo and erin burnett and christiane amanpour will host the special report. want to get to john berman with a look at the top stories.
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new this morning $60 million that's how much additional aid the united states will provide the syrian opposition. secretary of state john kerry announced the details a short time ago in rome when he met with opposition leaders. the funds will be used to help local communities in liberated parts of syria by providing basic needs like food, shelter, sanitation. the goal of the aid is to help extend the rule of law and establish interim justice as needed in these newly liberated syrian territories. democrats and republicans seem resigned to allowing those automatic spending cuts to kick in tomorrow. senate lawmakers plan to vote on separate proposals today to head off the across-the-board cuts but both appear dead on arrival. bob woodward claims he was threatened by a senior white house official after his reporting of the administration's handling of the forced federal cuts. here's what he told cnn's wolf blitzer -- >> said very clearly, you will regret doing this. >> who sent that e-mail? >> well, i'm not going to say. >> was it a senior person at the
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white house? >> a very senior person. and just as a mat -- i mean, it makes me very uncomfortable to have the white house telling reporters you're going to regret doing something that you believe in. >> the white house says no threat was intended. now just ahead we'll talk about the looming spending cuts with california congressman xavier becerra, the chairman of the house democratic caucus. the president's top donors and now his top choices for plum diplomatic posts. key campaign donors are leading candidates for ambassador is. jfk's daughter might be up for diplomatic post in canada or japan, her name has been linked to both. she was the national co-chair of the president's re-election campaign. big anticipation for the opening bell less than hour and ahalf away. stock futures pointing to a slightly higher opening after a big rally yesterday. the dow is 89 points from its
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all-time record high hit back in october 2007. that was a long time ago. fueling this rally, a strong housing report and federal reserve chairman ben bernanke said the central bank intends to keep propping up the economy with stimulus. today we'll get reports on fourth quarter gdp and jobless claims that could influence trading. soledad? >> john, thanks. let's get back to the pope and who potentially could be the next pontiff and also the role of the pope emeritus, we'll get to father edward beck who is a cnn contributor. nice to have you with us. >> nice to be here. >> we heard earlier from the vatican spokesperson that he won't be involved in a special way that he won't get sort of hang out and listen to what's happening, and he went get a special heads up when they pick the pope, he'll have sort of an outside role. but i'm curious to know who do you think could be on the short list of realistically who could be the next pope? >> there's a lot of talk that the catholic church is in the developing world, in africa and asia, so i want to go out a limb
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and i want to throw someone out from the developing nation of the philippines, cardinal ta rcr tartagle. if you don't like him, you have him for a long time. however, some of the cardinals may be heartened by the fact that now we have a pope who resigned so perhaps if it's not working too well, a younger cardinal, a younger pope, could, in fact, resign. >> what makes you pick him as your first? i know you got a couple on your top three, let's say. >> he's only a cardinal for three months and working against him, per se -- >> in fact, it was benedict the 16th who just made him cardinal back in november, right? >> that's right. and when john paul ii when he was introduced to him by benedict he said i assure you he's made his first communion, he's so young. that's the comment that benedict made to john paul ii. why i'm interested in talking a bit about him is because he's so humble. when he was bishop in the
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philippines, he would ride his bicycle. he would encounter all the pool on the streets. he would invite the poor in his residence to eat. there's a story about a woman who was looking for her alcoholic out-of-work husband expecting to find him in the local bar, she found him in the residence with the bishop eating lunch. he spoke very vo shumbly at thet meeting that we need someone with a lot of humbleness and silence. people are saying, wow, wouldn't it be something. he's no slouch, he studied in america, summa cum laude . >> many people said it might be an opportunity to have an african as pope, and cardinal peter turksa of ghana. >> a few strikes against him, one he's already spoken about it to the press -- >> like the cia, forget it. >> he didn't say i want to be.
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he said basically, well, it would be a tough job but he didn't totally dismiss it. >> it's a no-no. >> it's a no-no to talk about it or pretend you want it. >> when they go into the sistine chapel and you said they lock the door and all the people who are outsiders get kicked out. they jam the equipment, right? like, if you did have your blackberry you and were a cardinal you couldn't send a tweet about how it's going. pl they build a false floor and have all kinds of jamming equipment underneath it both to keep the cardinals from communicating with the outside world and preventing media to eavesdrop about what was going on. >> we would never do that. monsignor i'm offended by the suggestion. we talked, too, about the politics around it. give me a sense of, like, if you are cardinal who, say, thinks you would make a pretty good pope, who do you talk to, like, how do you say, me for the third ballot? >> well, there's the ancient
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axiom that says if you go into the conclave as pope, you come back out as cardinal. so and i think -- >> people definitely are political about it. >> there are some people and there are obvious front-runners. the cardinals read the papers and they watch the media. they know that they're being talked about. but at the same time i think even cardinal turkson's comment about recognizing the gravity of the job is that it's not anything that anybody really would aspire to when they think about it in all seriousness. >> two-thirds vote, right? when we were talking before, it's a little bit like the u.s. senate you got to get the supermajority and there's various mat various machinations that can go on. >> it's like the u.s. senate. >> the politicking does not happen in a public way, but inseed it happens. the cardinals eat together, they imbibe together at night, they have their conversations in their private coteries and, of course, they are talking about it. but we do believe the holy
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spirit has some say in it. >> we'll be watching the cardinals and the holy spirit, too, get to a little insight. >> something surreal about papal punditry. >> i love it. still ahead this morning we'll be talking to california congressman xavier becerra weighing in on the looming spending cuts. we'll go back to the comment about this is like the congress. what's going on really behind closed doors? many cereals say they're good for your heart, but did you know there's a cereal that's recommended by doctors? it's post shredded wheat. recommended by nine out of ten doctors to help reduce the risk of heart disease. post shredded wheat is made with only one ingredient: one hundred percent whole grain wheat, with no added sugar or salt. try adding fruit for more health benefits and more taste in your bowl. it's the ideal way to start your heart healthy day. try post shredded wheat. this has been medifacts for post shredded wheat. try post shredded wheat.
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welcome back, everybody. could there be progress behind the scenes in washington, d.c.? one day until those forced spending cuts kick in. and there has been a change in tone. the president last night saying the cuts are serious but not all that serious. >> this is not a cliff, but it
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is a tumble downward. a lot of people may not notice the full impact of this sequester. but this is going to be a big hit on the economy. >> california representative xavier becerra is the chairman of the democratic caucus, nice to have you with us, sir, great to see you again. what do you think? that tone was markedly different than what we've heard over the last days and weeks, frankly? does this mean there's something going on behind the scenes that has not yet been reported that is an indication of the beginning of this ending? >> i wish i could tell you that that is what we're seeing. but i don't think so. here in the house of representatives the republican leadership has told us that we're going to finish voting by midafternoon and we're not going to even stick around to do any voting tomorrow which is the final day of the deadline, so we're going to be leaving town before the deadline without ever having been given a chance to vote on a bill. we have a bill to offset the sequester on the democratic side that would be balanced and fair,
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but we've not been given the opportunity or the right to put that on the -- >> and nobody thinks it would pass anyway. let me ask ryan lizza a question. there's been a lot of conversation around this whole conversation, right? >> yeah. >> which is sort of who caused the sequester to go into place anyway. some say it was the president. some say, no, in fact, it was eric cantor. who? >> well, there's some joint responsibility here. i think you got to back up a little bit from where the conversation has been. so much of the conversation is who actually suggested the sequester first which is important. that's what woodward has been focused. back up, though, in 2011 and what started that conversation. it was the failure of the grand bargain. and, you know, i've been talking about it this week because i have a piece out about eric cantor and he told me that he talked to john boehner out of taking the grand bargain in 2011 because he wanted to have it out with the president in the election and hopefully they would get a better deal with a president romney, so that was the bet they made. that grand bargain failed and they had to come up with the whole convoluted process with
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the sequester. the question was born after the grand bargain failed after republicans didn't take the deal that obama gave them, i think that's an important fact you have to add to the conversation. >> let's go back to the conversation with congressman becerra. what is the hope that, in fact, we're going to resolve it? i don't have any hopes at all it will be resolved in the next 24 hours, but before the doom and gloom we talk about i ikicks in before the job losses kick in, before that happens, is it likely we'll resolve it, do you think? >> i hope so, because we're seeing good news coming out about the economy. we know the sequester if it goes forward as it is will cost us 750,000 jobs. by the way, that doesn't count the furloughs that will have to take place at the federal level within the federal government and the last thing we want to do is put the brakes on the economic recovery, so we should come up with something. the president said he's willing to negotiate. he's put forward a balanced plan that includes cuts, it also includes taking care of cutting some of the tax loopholes which
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are out there that only a few people benefit from, we should be able to come up with something, but it appears this is now the new normal for republican leadership to allow us to run the government in fits and starts. >> this is the new normal for congressional leadership, sir, with all due respect is to run everything to the edge. >> soledad, let me correct you. we have a proposal, in the house and the senate but we haven't been even a right to put that on -- >> there are many people who believe that proposal would fail and the bottom line is the proposal we're talking about with 24 hours before we hit this deadline, so -- >> let it fail then and let us have at least a vote. why can't we have at least a vote in a democracy when you can't even have a vote? let a majority shoot it down. >> you guys have been running -- >> with all due respect, congressman, i don't remember nancy pelosi letting republican legislation come to the floor whenever republicans wanted something when they were in the minority, right -- >> you point out an example, but we're about to see 750,000 americans lose their job, and to not even be given a chance -- >> it's going to happen over the
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year, right? go ahead. >> congressman, it's matt miller, how are you. do you think in retrospect it was a mistake for the president and the democrats to extend 82% of the bush tax cuts back on january 1st because it's that fact that, you know, the democrats campaigned against those tax cuts as being only benefiting the rich because all of them were extended the president needs to come back for more revenue now, if he'd actually done a different deal then we might be talking about what tax cuts we're doing as part of repealing the sequester. >> final word from the congressman on that. >> i voted against that fiscal cliff deal because of that, matt, i knew we needed to avoid the fit-and-start type of budgeting where we would manufacture more crises, the republicans would try to manufacture more crises to fulfill their agenda and i voted against the bill because we had a chance for a really good, big deal that would be balanced. we lost that opportunity. >> xavier becerra is a democrat from the state of california. thank you for your time. appreciate it. we've got to take a break. ahead on "starting point" a lot of schools are trying to get kids healthy, but is sending
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welcome back, everybody. some brand-new information this hour from the vatican on just who will be picking the next pope. we've learned that 115 cardinals are eligible to vote. they there 144 in attendance this morning. you have to be under 80 years old by today to take part in the conclave. the vatican also says that two cardinals might by too sick to attend the conclave so arrangements might be made to let them vote. want to get to rome and sister maryann walsh, a director of media relations for the u.s. conference of catholic bishops. nice to have you with us. you've written an article i find fascinating and you talked really about the legacy and a legacy of mistakes. what do you mean? >> well, not a legacy of
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mistakes, as much as a legacy of humanity. the holy father approached everything in a humble and very humble manner, and there were a few times when things seemed to go wrong. one was the famous meeting in reagansburg with the muslims when he began with a quote that people found offensive. it was a teacher trick, you know, put out something a little provocative and let the discussion begin. and it wound up being much ill received i would say. second one was in his efforts to bring back the society of st. pius x, the pope immediately on boat occasions, you know, apologized, admitted mistakes had been made, he had been misinterpreted, and then acted to make up for those mistakes. very humble response. >> it's what you called a human moment, a mistake, an apology
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and then an atonement, so i guess i should say a legacy of mistakes and then working to correct them. what do you think happened -- >> right. >> -- now, though, when you talk about what many people are often angry about the catholic church and maybe even particularly the pope, which is the scandal involving -- that we've seen unfold in various dioceses across the united states, the scandal involving, you know, i guess it would be young children who have been molested or, you know -- who have been alleged to have been molested by priests? and that's an allegation that has gone straight up the ranks all the way to rome. >> it certainly is a grave concern of our church. but i think you have to remember when people are angry when they read about that in the newspaper, most of their experience is based on what's in the parish and that's what affects the most, that they find a pastor who's caring, who visit their mother when they're sick, who tends to their needs and is nice to their children, people
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are very much satisfied. you're talking about the scandals are horrific, and unfortunately huge amounts of damage were done by a few people. >> let me turn to monsignor. you know, when you look at the pope's legacy, right, i think we have sort of two trends running here, one is how did he do, and the other is where will the church go. how do you answer the question of how did pope benedict xvi do? >> well, we had the challenge of following after the legacy of pope john paul ii. >> the most popular pope in recent memory. >> absolutely. with the charisma and the ability to relate to a broad spectrum of people and really touch people's hearts, and pope benedict approaches it as scholar and an academic. his writings are actually quite beautiful, his writings on hope, on charity, on justice and the economy and the rumored fourth document that he was working on on faith which was really inviting people to a personal relationship with jesus. part of his legacy is going to be his ability as a pastor, but
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we have to really mine his writings for that and i think another piece of his legacy that a number of people have observed this morning is the legacy of the resignation as a final act of humility, that he admitted he did not have the stamina and the strength to do the challenging things, to face the issues that the church is facing. he didn't name those issues, but he recognized that it's time to pass the leadership on and he said yesterday in his audience that this was about the church and not about him. >> it will be interesting to see which direction they do go which, of course, is what we'll be looking at ahead in the next days and weeks certainly. sister maryann walsh joins us this morning, thank you for being with us. >> happy to be with you. this just in to cnn, earlier we told you that veteran journalist bob woodward said he was threatened by someone from the white house over his reporting on the looming spending cuts, he was told he would regret it. a democrat close to the situation tells cnn that the white house official was gene spurling, the director of the
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national economic council. we're also told the two have known each other for decades. also new this morning, the u.s. will provide the syrian opposition with an additional $16 million in aid. secretary of state kerry announced the details in rome when he met with the opposition leaders. he said the funds are a result of the regime's continued brutality against their own people. emotional testimony from neil heslin brought his plea to an assault weapons ban to a hearing held by dianne feinstein. he said he was there on behalf of his late son. >> he was the love of my life. it's hard for me to be here today. to talk about my deceased son. i have to. i'm his voice. >> despite wednesday's emotional healing -- hearing, a new
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assault weapons bans a little chance of passing due to strong opposition, you have the opposition from the national rifle association and congressional republicans and some democrats as well. an army private that gave classified information to wikileaks is in court to explain why he did it, bradley manning said he wanted to spark a debate on the military and our foreign policy in general. this will only be the second time he testified in open court since his arrest. among the charges aiding the enemy. manning could face a life sentence. schools in north anover, massachusetts, are doing their part to raise obesity questions, have gone to new lengths, they sent a letter. >> no one wants to get a letter being told they're obese, that's a very strong, uncomfortable word and, you know, we just didn't see it fitting with our son who is very active. he's very strong. >> his mother a select woman in
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north andover is working with state representatives to stop the so-called fat letters. >> i would think as a parent of four kids that that would not be helpful. >> they do the tests in the school including, you know, body mass index, you know, height, weight, and they extend the result out. and i'd like to know the results of the tests for my kids. >> in a way that's helpful. it's not enough to know that you failed math, it's not enough to know your bmi is 92, you need to figure out -- >> what do you do otherwise? >> what are you going to do with the information? >> it's up to you as a parent. >> are you arguing? that's it! got to take a break. still ahead on "starting point," if you love that free
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unlimited music on pandora, i have some news for you. the streaming service is making some big changes. we'll tell you what's happening there. and olympic gymnast and international sensation will tell us about her future coming up next. gles. it's marching to the beat of a different drum. and where beauty meets brains. it's big ideas with smaller footprints. and knowing there's always more in the world to see. it's the all-new lincoln mkz. carrots...yes. chicken wings...uh ha, sure. chips...craveable. celery...this is fun. okay i love it, i love it. chicken nuggets... what's going on?
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general norman schwarzkopf will be laid to rest today, he was 78 years old. how about a honeymoon on mars? multimillionaire space tourist dennis tito wants to send a couple, preferably married, to mars and back in 2018. >> i could do that. >> that seems awfully soon. he's the first space tourist visiting the spacetation aboard a russian rocket at a cost of $20 million. >> would you do that? >> no. what are you asking? >> i've been fighting with him all morning. i don't want to marry him. >> that would be weird. >> would you take your wife? >> i would not take your husband. this is all very confusing. i don't think i want to go to
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mars. pandora is going to limit how much free music you can listen to, capping it to 40 hours per month. >> wow. >> once you hit that limit you can pay 99 cents for unlimited music for the rest of the month. pandora says it's because of rising royalty costs. it's not much money but i do suspect that anyone who listens to pandora will have to pay the 99 cent cents. >> a buck a month. >> i'm going to mars, but not with you. the vice president says that he cannot believe the country is reliving a civil rights battle from the 1960s, that's what's happening before the supreme court. conservative justices suggest that a key piece of legislation that was born out of the struggle might be unnecessary and unfair today. here's cnn's justice correspondent joe johns. >> reporter: while supporters of the voting rights act rallied outside, conservatives on the court were picking the law apart led by antonin scalia, he
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suggested the law's repeated renewal since 1965 might be the per pettation of racial intitlement, he called notice the type of question you can leave to congress. his turn to of phrase galled civil rights advocates. but is it a racial intitlement? >> it is a racial intitlement, it's a birthright to cast your right to vote. >> reporter: the court is hearing a challenge to the portion of the law that gives the federal government the power to preapprove any voting changes in nine southern states and parts of seven others. a power some see as a violation of states' rights. >> fit where we're in a very different situation. >> reporter: conservatives on the court also ask why the law allows the federal government to treat states in the south differently from the rest of the country. chief justice john roberts asked the obama administration, is the government submission that the citizens in the south are more racist than the citizens in the north? liberals pushed back.
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justice sonia sotomayor asking the lawyer for shelby county, alabama, which brought the case, why the court might rule in a favor of a county whose record is the epitome of what caused the passage of the law to start with. the county argues things have changed in the south. >> we've made great strides over the years. we have minority participation at record levels. we have minority candidates elected by 90% white populations. >> reporter: many at the proceeding were already bracing for the very real possibility that part of the law could be ruled unconstitutional. >> we stand challenged in this court to do the right thing. i hope it does. but if it does not, we will not go back. we've come too far. marched too much, bled too profuse-. we will not go back. >> among the civil rights leaders congressman john lewis who was beaten in selma, alabama, who was 1965 in a march for voting rights. joe johns, cnn, washington. coming up next, she landed a vault that will go down in
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olympic history, helped her team win the gold, mckayla maroney is here, find out how impressed she is with her new job. did you know not all fiber is the same? citrucel is different- it's the only fiber for regularity that won't cause excess gas. it's gentle and clinically proven to help restore and maintain regularity. look for citrucel today. [ whirring ] [ creaking ] [ male announcer ] trophies and awards lift you up. but they can also hold you back. unless you ask, what's next? [ zapping ] [ clang ] this is the next level of performance. the next level of innovation. the next rx.
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the f sport. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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u.s. olympic gymnast mchalela maroney became an intenet sensation after her not impressed face went viral. photographed on the medal podium giving a brief look of disappointment after she earned a silver medal in the vaults but
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her real claim to fame is helping the women's gymnastic team win the gold at last summer's games and she's catapulting into a new field acting and she appears in the new tv show "heart of dixie" and here's how she does. >> looks like you two are going steady. congratulations. >> rose, i do not even want to be here. >> it's rose's fault you or a date with her man? >> if i break his heart now, we might lose. >> if you want to end it, you could figure out how. >> burn. >> let's go, tanya, i lost my appetite. >> fyi, cougar is not a good look on you. >> ooh. ow. >> do you like the accent? >> i like the country accent. it's very convincing. >> cougar is not a good look on you. tell me how you got into interesting originally. were you always interested? >> as a young child i always wanted to do it, i did plays when i was younger and i've taken a couple of acting classes and it's the same feeling i get when i do gymnastics, i just
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love it and it's something i always wanted to start doing. >> you had some injuries, in the olympics you had injuries and after that. tell me a little bit about that. >> i had three surgeries and i never had, you know, a crazy injury like that and so it was definitely a big shock but i'm healing up now and i feel so much better and i'm already back in the gym and i'm shooting for the next olympics. >> wow. because you fractured your tibia i read after the -- >> i fractured my tibia and got a couple screws in there but they're out now. >> wow. were you able to do some acting while you were recovering from your injury? >> that's what i did when i couldn't do any gymnastics. >> she doesn't just lay in bed. >> got to work. >> tell me a little bit about your goals and your plans. you were telling us earlier in the commercial break that you set out this bucket list that you wanted to do and ticked through it all at age 17? >> my whole life i wanted to go to the olympics that was my one and only dream i worked towards since i was 2 years old to accomplish that, and i'm living a dream, to be here and doing so
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many fun things it's awesome. and i'm working with 7up 10. 7up, everybody it's so good, it's -- it's a better choice for its ten calories. i'm a gymnast trying to get back into shape, so my coach approves. >> tell me a little bit about what your goals are actingwise, the oscars were just done, do you look at jennifer lawrence and say i want to be in a dress like that. >> i love her. i fell at the olympics, so she can fall at the oscars. she's such a special girl and i love her personality and i look up to her and i want to win an oscar one day so -- >> it's so refreshing. most people say they are happy to be nominated but i like a girl who says forget that, i want to win. >> i guess it's the olympic mindset. >> it's a good mindset. >> your character on the show seems to stem from the facial expression that you are known for. do you think that's the only character you ever get to play?
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>> definitely not. i hope not. but i'm pretty good at playing it, i guess. >> can i ask you, you know, you've committed to going to another olympics. >>off. >> that's unusual at this point for some gymnasts, usually it's a one and done. it's an awful lot of work for you to get back. >> just from not doing it for a little while, i missed it, it's something i love, i'm only 17, why not go again, why not try to go get another gold medal and help my country do that. it was the most amazing time for me ever to work so hard for something and to accomplish it. and i didn't get the gold medal on vault, so that's going to be my next thing that i want. >> do you go to school as part of all this, too, and -- >> i went to school all through eighth grade and now i have a tutor, so she follows me around that's awesome so -- >> what ends up happening in terms of the stuff that you've done since the olympics, in addition to acting, you've had some great experiences? i remember the day you guys came, all five of you, the fierce five came in. >> yeah. >> in fact, everybody was
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exhausted because they had done the empire state building. >> we were just running around. >> what's been the best experiences that you've had outside of, like, winning the gold medal and the silver medal, too? >> yeah. well, immediately after the olympics we didn't stop and we had a three-month tour, so that was amazing to be able to have, like, a show for our fans because that's when i got inspired to, you know, i was, like, wow, this is amazing, i'm watching olympians right in front of me, so i knew it was a very special moment for me as a kid so i was very excited to do that. we got to do the vma and we did the hollywood game awards. >> you did the miss america. you were a judge. >> miss america, that was something different. >> god, she's 17. she's ticked off everything. >> pace yourself. >> i got to slow down. it was so much fun because i'm not used to being -- i'm used to being judged and not judging, it was different and it was a lot of fun. those girls i love, you know, how passionate they are about what they want to do and they just want to make a difference in the world so i levthat. >> wow. well, it is so great to hang out and talk to you.
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congratulations on the acting. >> thank you so much. >> we'll be rooting for you next time in the olympics. >> thank you so much. >> you name it...i've hooked it. but there's one... one that's always eluded me. thought i had it in the blizzard of '93. ha! never even came close. sometimes, i actually think it's mocking me. [ engine revs ] what?! quattro!!!!! ♪ quattro!!!!! oh, hi thehey!ill. are you in town for another meeting? yup, i brought my a-team. siness trips add to family time. this is my family. this is joe. hi joe! hi there!
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Starting Point
CNN February 28, 2013 4:00am-6:00am PST

News/Business. Soledad O'Brien. Soledad O'Brien looks ahead to the days top news and events. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 31, Rome 14, Bob Woodward 10, Washington 10, Vatican 8, Christiane Amanpour 7, Cnn 7, America 6, California 6, Joe 6, U.s. 5, Benedict 5, United States 5, New York 4, Xavier Becerra 4, Cardinals 4, Post Shredded Wheat 4, Erin Burnett 4, Chris Cuomo 4, Olympics 4
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